Dec 12, 2018

Nye on order

John Nye on order, in his interview with Tyler Cowen (a):

Nye: That’s a little trickier. I would say in recent years, the book I’ve been pondering a lot is Hobbes’s Leviathan.

Cowen: Why?

Nye: Because I think we’ve lived through such a period of relative peace and order that we are taking for granted how unprecedented this is. Despite all the wars that erupted since World War II, there has not been a major global conflict at that level in... nearly, what, three-quarters of a century now? And that’s quite unusual.

It’s also unusual that the #1 leading military power has done so little, contrary again to what a lot of people say about it, to expand its power militarily. And there are a lot of reasons for that, many of them very good, both moral as well as practical.

Nonetheless, that’s an anomaly in world history, I think, in many ways. And I still think there’s a kind of second law of thermodynamics for political economy in which disorder has a pull. And I worry a lot about the stability of the liberal world order in the next century.

Also this:

Nye: That in times of peace, be aware that these things are not necessarily self-sustaining. I would say that’s the conservative worldview – that civilization and order are not default states of mankind. It’s very Hobbesian.